If you do a quick internet search to determine how many Spanish-speaking people reside in the US, you’ll find an assortment of statistics that will be hard to pin down. They all point to one fact though – there are a lot of people who hablan Español. If reading numbers and statistics makes your eyes glaze over, check out this infographic from Porter Novelli’s Hispanic Census:
- According to the United States Census Bureau: as of 2009 there were 35 million Spanish-speaking U.S. residents over the age of five.
- According to North Carolina Central University: there were 42 million people who spoke Spanish in the home in 2005, and by the year 2050, Spanish will be the first language of 50% of the people living in the US.
- According to a random blogger in a 2012 blog post: there were more than 50 million Spanish-speakers in the US and by 2052 there will be over 130 million, which will amount to 30% of the entire population.
Reaching the bilingual consumer will continue to become increasingly important. Tide and Target are two companies that are already making progress in this direction. Their bilingual TV commercials do a great job of appealing to both unilingual and bilingual viewers without being exclusive to either group.
Tide cut two versions of the same spot so that if you are watching on a Spanish-language channel, the subtitles will be in Spanish, and on an English-language channel they would be in English. Both versions will resonate with anyone who has ever translated for their abuelos and to anyone who has helped older family members navigate the modern world. Target incorporated a children’s song that is sung in both Spanish and English. The song is catchy enough that even people who only speak English find themselves phonetically humming along to the Spanish parts. Very clever.
If you want to hear a testimonial on how much can be gained or lost by including or excluding the Hispanic population, just ask political campaign directors. Reaching out to the bilingual audience is a smart marketing move. It will be part of a lasting trend that we’ll see much more of in the future.